Where To Make Merry In North Goa!

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And no, it’s not what you think.

I was in Goa in December and I’m fresh with all the susegado-infused-peace, yes, the much abused word when it comes to all things Goan. A number of people following my Goa feed on Facebook and Instagram messaged me asking for a list of recommendations for Goa. Places to eat this time around and not stay. Yes, I am a vegetarian, so you might be thinking as to how a vegetarian can recommend places in Goa! I believe that if a place in Goa has good vegetarian food, the non-vegetarian will be outstanding. You can choose to correct me, but this theory has worked out when I’ve recommended places on other occasions for my non-vegetarian friends. But do note, places in Goa move around, almost like a bunch of crows chasing a garbage truck in Mumbai. You, dear traveller, are the garbage truck in this analogy. Morjim and Ashwem seem to have so many happening places now, and the Brittos of Baga seem to have been pushed into mundane oblivion- very been there and very done to death.

Here are a bunch of places in North Goa, some old, some new and some rearranged in new settings. There is no particular order, just as random as my head. You can use this list for this season, but come next year and it might be outdated:

Sublime Bistro, Morjim:
Downright brilliant food. Vegetarian options are few but I loved it. I went up and met the chef and thanked him for the meal, he was a simple looking guy called Kali, and in a lungi. I don’t know how he managed to plate up in such a MasterChef-like way and get a delicate balance of all the flavours. Serious lesson: Don’t judge a cook by his lungi.
What I ate: Spinach in filo pastry, Oven-Baked Mushroom, Chocolate Truffle (More Mousse like with a Chocolate crumb and some Creme Anglais)
Each dish was brilliant. 'A' had the last bite of my share of the Chocolate Truffle, and the manager kindly gave me another scoop (rather generous) of the Truffle and just for that, go there!

Thalassa, Vagator:
Well-known, Greek food. Love the simple white decor, and when the sky and seas are blue in winter, the Soulvaki as perfect as I got mine, well, I thought I was back at Santorini, Greece.
The location works in it’s favour. Overlooking the lovely Vagator beach, you can sit and watch the sun set the sea ablaze and then shimmer a bit, colour the sky and then dip into the sea for the night. If you do wish to see that sunset, block a table in advance. If you get there before 5pm, and have not blocked a table, you get evicted, literally. You are told more than a thousand times, that you need to leave by 5pm.
What I are: Tzatziki, decent but didn’t wow us. One more vegetarian starter but I cannot remember the name.
And the Veg Soulvaki. That was delicious. On Hindsight, we should have ordered just that. The juices from the roasted veggies ran all over the plate, leaving us swabbing the plate with the pita bread. Yes, till the very last drop!

Cantare, Siolim:
This is a Resto-bar and comes alive at night. It makes for an interesting, non-shack experience at Goa. Set in a restored house, if you find a seat in the balcony/verandah, it could make for a lovely evening. The owner walks around, talks to the people at every table and invites them to his place. There's live music on some nights, and if you want a ringside view, then get a table inside. This does get packed easily. We went in September and couldn’t get a table inside, so book in advance.

Infantaria, Calangute:
Been around forever, good for breakfast and a quick meal.

La Plage, Ashwem:
Hyped. Over-priced. Plus not much for vegetarians. In starters there were just two possible dishes and one other with boiled egg (I can’t do the gooey, mushy centre) and the vegetarian spring rolls are not available anymore. The host seemed quite a stiff (Read: Stuck-up) Frenchwoman, who didn’t want to entertain any requests like ours. If you are Vegetarian, skip this place.
What I ate: A platter (assortment) of salads, vegetables and served with a carrot gelato. It was a main, but we had it as a starter. Decent, but not worth the cost.
Then had the Chocolate Platter. Average desserts, almost an amateur feel to it and yet, really expensive! The Chocolate Fondant was not gooey enough and the mousse was rather sweet. There was a lot of coconut covered with chocolate which I got tired of after a point. The Mocha Cake was good!

J&A Italian, Baga: (Almost went there but not quite)
Set in an old house, we’d stayed at the homestayish-hotel Capella, run by the hosts of this restaurant, Jamshed and Ayesha. We had gone there during the monsoon, when the restaurant is shut. We tried on another trip to Goa (mid-December) and it was still shut. Maybe there was something on that weekend, so do call before you head to Baga.

I have heard of all these places, tried to go to some, but not eaten there.

La Chocolatti, Aguada: Went there, stood at the gate and took a picture till the dog barked me away. Open from 9am to 7pm (Mon-Fri). Shut every Sunday.

There is a Farmer’s Market on Sundays at the Hyatt (Check if it’s on when you go.): Lots of cool places have stalls there and these guys have one too! 

Gunpowder, Assagao: I think there used to be a branch in Delhi, but still well known for the food.

Baba au Rum, Anjuna: Someone recommended for tarts and pizzas.

Bomras, Anjuna: Recommended for meat eaters. I haven’t been there.

Souza Lobo, Calangute: Local Goan Food, went there ages ago. Decent even for vegetarian.

Lila Cafe: Run by a German couple, heard good reviews.

Sur La Mer, Ashwem: Heard the Chocolate Fondant is to die for here. Wish had wasted my calories on this one instead of the one at La Plage.

Go With The Flow, Baga: Good reviews.

There are so many more restaurants at every corner and many of them are quite good. I think Goa is fun when you discover these places for yourself. Have fun and eat away to choked arteries! If you want suggestions in other parts of Goa, I can try and help there too. Leave a comment and I’ll get back.

This trip was originally published on Merry to go around.